Work starts on restoring historic railway bridges
WORK has started on restoring five historic bridges that will carry trains between Broadway and Cheltenham for the first time in more than 50 years.
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) launched a share offer yesterday, aiming to raise about £500,000 to pay for the refurbishment of the bridges.
It is part of the organisation’s plans to extend its line to Broadway, and the cost represents a third of the £1.5 million needed to bring an extra two miles of the railway into use.
The £500,000 share offer, called Bridges to Broadway, was created by the Development Foundation.
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All of the bridges require work, with two needing significant expenditure to repair damage caused by corrosion, movement of embankments, or strikes by over-weight lorries.
Once the refurbishment is finished, trains will run between Broadway and Cheltenham again.
The last time was in 1960 when British Railways closed the stations on the Cheltenham to Honeybourne and Stratford route.
Malcolm Temple, chairman of GWR, said it would take about three years to complete the work if it can raise the money.
The GWR recently raised £1 million after two serious embankment collapses on its current running line.
Mr Temple said: “The public and particularly the heritage railway movement responded magnificently to our plight.
“That we are launching this appeal less than a year after the last embankment repair works were finished says much for the sheer grit of our volunteer workforce and their determination to press on with the expansion of our railway.”
The completed railway will be 14 miles long, starting at Cheltenham Racecourse and passing through Gotherington, Winchcombe, Toddington, Laverton and Broadway.
“Work on rebuilding Broadway station has been underway for some time, with construction of two 10-coach length platforms now substantially complete, thanks to the efforts of the volunteer Broadway Area Group,” said Mr Temple.
Two new platforms have already been built at Broadway station, and planning permission has been granted for the station buildings, which will be similar to the ones closed by British Railways in 1960.
A signal box will also be built on Platform Two.
The five bridges with their costs are:
1. Station Road, Broadway – £215,000
2. Childswickham Road, Broadway – £86,000
3. Pry Lane, Broadway – £18,000
4. Peasebrook Farm, Cheltenham Road, Broadway – £46,000
5. Little Buckland, Broadway – £192,000